Jazz hands

they were really into sax back then –
     big mouthfuls of it –

no strings –
     the dream was to coast about, recklessly

finding favour in back alleyways
               fingers up and down

as loose coins in the pocket – jingle rhythmic
                                            pitched high to the sway –

but notes fall like people do
   and music gets in deep as a low C – sustained

all practiced hands are quick to find
    that frantic riffs give out to calm –

all alleys lead to open doors
and love – like death – moves in

Jessica L Wilkinson

Jessica L Wilkinson’s latest book of poetry is Music Made Visible: A Biography of George Balanchine (Vagabond Press, 2019). She is the managing editor of Rabbit and an Associate Professor in Creative Writing at RMIT University.

More by Jessica L Wilkinson ›

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